Base model Honda HR-V VTi is a refined, spacious but a no frills city- focussed SUV.
What is it?
What’s it cost?
The Honda HR-V range opens with the HR-V VTi (as tested) which is priced from $24,990 plus on road costs and climbs to the flagship HR-V VTi-L, which has a recommended retail of $33,340 exclusive of on road costs and other government charges.
Standard equipment features on the HR-V VTi are relatively basic. Key features include single zone climate control, satellite navigation and touchscreen infotainment system that is shared with the City, a reversing camera, cruise control and power windows. Naturally, there’s ABS brakes, a host of airbags and other safety technologies to keep the car and its occupants out of harm’s way.
What’s it go like?
All Honda HR-V models are powered by a 1.8 litre four-cylinder engine that produces 105kW @ 6500rpm and 172Nm @ 4300rpm and power is sent to the front wheels via a Continuously Variable Transmission. Manual or all-wheel drive is not available on any model in the HR-V range.
The HR-V’s performance is generally adequate, and the urban SUV is best suited to built-up areas. That said, it’s fine on the open road, however that engine does need to be revved hard when tackling steep hills or if you need to overtake quickly.
Surprisingly – and a couple of people pointed this out – the HR-V’s naturally aspirated four was actually quieter and more refined than the new 1.5 litre turbo unit in the bigger and more expensive CR-V.
Honda claims an averaged combined fuel consumption figure of 6.6 litres per 100 kilometres, however we found 8.5 litres to be more realistic.
Ride and handling are all fine. The HR-V’s steering is nice and light and the ride is generally well sorted, and it should handle patchy city streets and tram tracks with aplomb. That said, we found the rear suspension in our test car to be very noisy over some speed bumps.
What’s it like inside?
Spacious, comfortable and cleverly designed. That asymmetrical dash is angled toward the driver, meaning everything is within easy reach. The climate control unit is simple and intuitive, although the same can’t be said for the infotainment/satellite navigation unit, which looks cheap, can be difficult to fathom and for some strange reason, the nav has a tendency to choose some truly obscure routes.
The front seats are comfortable though, and space up the front is actually very impressive, except for the centre console was a little too small.
It’s a similar story at the back – there’s an astounding amount of head and legroom for a car of this size and the rear bench is soft, supportive and comfortable. That said, there’s only enough space for two adults.
At 437 litres with the back seats up and 1462 litres with the seats folded flat,the boot is a decent size and is nicely shaped, so it should be more than capable of swallowing the results of a hefty inner city shopping spree, or perhaps luggage for a weekend escape.
The overall use of materials is fine, but the HR-V’s interior lacks the edgy flair of the C-HR or the overall feeling of quality that you get in a CX-3. To an extent, the Honda feels like a budget offering compared to its rivals and there were some quality glitches too, which largely centred around a squeaky driver’s seat and a rattle behind the dash.
But, all things considered, the cabin is a great place to be.
What we like:
- Spacious and comfortable interior
- Well priced
What we don’t:
- Equipment levels are a little stingy – a car that’s designed to be used primarily around town should really have rear parking sensors at the very least. Honda should also throw in its “Lane Watch” tech, which is fitted to some many other models in the range as standard fare
- Our test car had a few quality glitches. There was the noisy rear suspension, a squeaky driver’s seat and some rattles behind the dash.
- Engine is usually quiet and smooth, but can feel lethargic at times
- Feels like a cut price alternative compared to its rivals – it lacks the attitude and quality of the C-HR and the class of the CX-3.
Sale or no sale?
Yes, actually. The Honda HR-V VTi does exactly what it says on the tin – a basic, city-oriented SUV that offers great comfort and decent driveability for an affordable starting price. And for many, this could very well tick all the boxes.